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Barry Cornwall

(21 November 1787 – 5 October 1874 / Leeds, England)

The Old Witch in the Copse


I am a Witch, and a kind old Witch,
There's many a one knows that--
Alone I live in my little dark house
With Pillycock, my cat.
A girl came running through the night,
When all the winds blew free:--
"O mother, change a young man's heart
That will not look on me.
O mother, brew a magic mead
To stir his heart so cold."
"Just as you will, my dear," said I;
"And I thank you for your gold."
So here am I in the wattled copse
Where all the twigs are brown,
To find what I need to brew my mead
As the dark of night comes down.
Primroses in my old hands,
Sweet to smell and young,
And violets blue that spring in the grass
Wherever the larks have sung.
With celandines as heavenly crowns
Yellowy-gold and bright; All of these,
O all of these,
Shall bring her Love's delight.
But orchids growing snakey green
Speckled dark with blood,
And fallen leaves that curled and shrank
And rotted in the mud,
With blistering nettles burning harsh
And blinding thorns above;
All of these, O all of these
Shall bring the pains of Love.
Shall bring the pains of Love, my Puss,
That cease not night or day,
The bitter rage, nought can assuage
Till it bleeds the heart away.
Pillycock mine, my hands are full
My pot is on the fire.
Purr, my pet, this fool shall get
Her fool's desire.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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